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Too Much Encouragement?

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By Beverly S. Krueger

Several years ago, I attended a workshop given by Dr. Lawrence O. Richards. He described an experiment in encouragement. A Sunday School program was set up which included providing many handouts full of ideas that parents could implement at home with their children. The theory was that parents, who had expressed a desire to be more involved in the religious education of their children, lacked the resources to do so. When provided with an abundance of ideas and suggestions, they should naturally become increasingly involved with their children. Bible reading programs and weekly activity lists were handed out.

The first week went well, but as time went on parents began dropping out of the program. Those in charge of the project were baffled until they realized that the parents were not being encouraged by all the ideas and suggestions. They were becoming increasingly guilty. All the possibilities placed before them became further evidence in their minds that they were not doing enough for their children.

If you have ever been on the receiving end of more good ideas than you have strength to even consider, you will understand the reaction of the parents in this program. With much thought and prayer, those leading the program considered how to truly encourage parents to become more involved with their children. The solution should bring a smile to your face. They discovered that when the adults began to study the same lessons the children were studying an immediate by-product was that parents began sharing with their children about these lessons.

As we diligently learn more about all the resources available to us as homeschoolers, we need to remember that ideas are just ideas. If you can use an idea, use it. If you cannot see yourself building a scale model of a medieval castle with sugar cubes and glue, then don't feel guilty about not doing it. Do the things that you enjoy doing with your children. It is better to demonstrate a true love of reading than to show how to lose your cool when frustrated. Share the passions of your life with your children. As your children discover their own passions, share the learning process with them.

Copyright ©  2004 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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